The Young Avenger
Look - (stop me if you've heard this one) But There Were These Two Fellers...
Direction: Four out of five. James Hill confirms his ability for bizarre storylines that he started in "Something Nasty in the Nursery," judging every scene with the kind of depth that it needs, especially the quick change scene. A very good score.
Plot: Three out of five. Dennis Spooner gives us his only effort for the entire filmed series here with the most strange plot ever seen in an Avengers episode. At first we think that it only goes as far as revenge, like "Return of the Cybernauts," but then we realise that it goes deeper than that, and it seems a bit of a disappointment that this is so. It is very engaging, however.
Original Music: Four out of five. We have another "Split!"-style main theme, and on first hearing it, it seems utterly at odds with the content of the episode. However, once we have got into the episode, and heard it a few times, it seems ever more appropriate. The silly interlude when a death has been committed is also very good.
With Music From: "The Danger Makers," "The Girl from Auntie," "The Forget-Me-Knot," "From Venus With Love," "You Have Just Been Murdered," "Quick-Quick Slow Death," "Silent Dust," "The Cybernauts," "What the Butler Saw," "Epic."
Wittiness: Five out of five. The number of gags in this episode is immense, and one just has to watch it to enjoy it. Among the best are:
Action: Four out of five. The best fight is at the end when Steed and Tara face Maxie Martin and his assistant, and Martin adopts all sorts of disguises in a quick change routine, which makes sure that, when he is dealt a knocking-out blow by Steed, he is sent back through all the costumes that he has worn earlier in the scene. Wonderful!
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. Although it is not really a location, it is great to see a Punch and Judy stand. The other sets are brilliant, too, although when Steed and Tara are in her car, there is absolutely no attempt to make it look like a real location shoot. Shame, that. The corporate car park is also very dull, although we do get a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud parked in it.
Introduction/Tag: Four out of five. The beginning in the office of the Capitol Development Company is a bit dull, but it yields to the first of the comic killings, so it is great. The tag is actually rather expected with Steed's quick-change routine fully exploited and then his dinner jacket with a flashing Eat at Joe's sign on his back. Absolutely first class.
Overall Impression: Slightly lacklustre sets and direction prevent me from sending this one right to the top, but we have all the comedy stars you could want, great wit and that exit stage left. Then we have Bernard Cribbins, Tara looking her series best when she lets her hair down, some good locations, and my favourite one of the Monty Python stars, John Cleese at his best.This is the only Tara King episode to have made the top twenty in the fans list, and the reasons for this are too long too list. How anyone could give it one out of four is beyond me, except to say that Steed does change his suit seven times in this episode, a record, surely? And that is before the quick-change tag! If all the Thorson episodes had been like this, we would have wanted for nothing. Why didn't Dennis Spooner write more scripts for The Avengers?
Rating: Nine and a half out of ten.
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